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6/2/2011 4:46:39 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
High School Math: How Does It Add Up for You?

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter
June 2011--High School Math: How Does It Add Up for You?
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Dear Friends,

If you are graduating a senior this month, congratulations! It's a
milestone in your teen's life, but also an achievement in your life,
too. We appreciate the time and effort you've invested in your teen,
and we pray that the Lord blesses you both in this next season. (Watch
for an upcoming article in HSLDA's Court Report magazine that will
provide ideas and reflections on life after homeschooling.)

For those of you continuing to teach high school in September, it's
likely that you are in the midst of choosing the subjects you will
teach. In previous newsletters, we've discussed high school English,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11405 , science
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11406 , foreign language
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11407 , and history
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11408 . In this edition of the
newsletter, we'll cover everyone's favorite subject - math! Are those
groans we hear?

For some homeschool parents, high school math is a bother, irritation,
or blight. Strong words for such an innocuous subject. Let us help by
suggesting another perspective of math in light of the benefits,
resources and supplements, and teaching options available.

Why Study Math?

Dealing with numbers is part of everyone's life from counting change,
to telling time, to calculating square footage for a new carpet, to
doubling the measurements of ingredients in a recipe, to figuring out
a grade point average. Remind your teens that people in all walks of
life use math - real estate agents who calculate principal and
interest, economists who deal with trends and projections, machinists
who calibrate tools, or construction workers who read blueprints and
make scale conversions. Even those aspiring to be moms will use math
in budgeting, comparison shopping, and putting that meal on the table!

Math is a core high school subject, and its relevance crosses over
into other subject areas. It has been called the language of science.
History dates and timelines use math to show us when events happened
and their relation to one another. Ever think of math as poetry?
Albert Einstein said, "Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of
logical ideas."

God designed the universe to follow patterns and paths that can be
measured and studied. Whether your teen is tackling polynomial
division, simplifying fractions, or solving an equation for "x," math
requires that he makes use of an orderly, logical system of rules.
For example, geometry proofs teach your teen that every step must have
a reason and that a correct sequence of steps validates propositions.
Help your teen to notice that he follows a similar procedure when
brainstorming and writing an essay or when conducting a science
experiment.

What Math Courses Should Be Taken?

Now that you are convinced of the need for math, the next question is
what courses to study? In a typical high school program, Algebra 1,
Algebra 2, and geometry are the foundational math courses that serve
as building blocks for further courses. If your teen plans to enlist
in the military or enter the workforce directly after high school,
consider adding a practical math course such as consumer math. It will
provide useful skills in real life situations such as buying a car,
budgeting, and investing. For those of you with budding
entrepreneurs, an accounting course may also be beneficial.

College-bound students who are targeting majors in a science or
engineering-related field should plan to study advanced math courses
such as Pre-Calculus/Trig and Calculus. Since the college entrance
tests (SAT and ACT) include higher level math concepts than those
covered in algebra and geometry, all teens applying to college should
consider additional math courses. In addition, using SAT or ACT prep
resources will keep the math skills fresh,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11409 and aid your teen to score
higher on these tests.

It is helpful to note that math skills are important when choosing the
timing of science courses in order to meet the needed prerequisites
and to do well in chemistry and physics. We suggest that Algebra 1 be
completed prior to taking a chemistry course and that Algebra 2 be
completed before attempting a physics course.

How Will I Teach Math?

If math did not come easy to you when you were in high school,
teaching your teen's math courses may be a great opportunity to have
another chance to make sense of the subject! Buy the teacher's guides,
answer keys, and solutions manual so that you'll have everything you
need to fully grasp the concepts. Many homeschool math curriculum
publishers provide help lines that put you in touch with an expert who
can offer you assistance when needed. Some math curriculum offers the
opportunity to purchase instructional CDs or DVDs for your teen to
watch independently or with you.

Because math is an incremental subject with topics building on one
another, you'll want to be sure that you take time to slow down and
explain any concept that your teen does not understand. It also helps
to do math consistently (each school day!) rather than tackling the
subject in bits and pieces. Give your teen plenty of practice by
assigning a good number of problems to keep his skills sharp, but
don't overburden him by an undue amount of busywork. For example, if
he has proven his ability to add vectors, then one or two practice
problems may be all that is needed. Teaching one on one allows you the
flexibility to adapt the curriculum to your teen's needs.

If individual circumstances warrant, you may want to check out
alternatives to a parent-taught math course. A wide variety of online
math courses http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11410
are available that provide not only instruction, but also evaluation
of tests, and personal help for times when your teen doesn't
understand a concept. Correspondence schools many times allow you to
choose individual courses in addition to taking a whole slate of high
school courses.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11411
Another alternative would be to hire a private tutor to help your teen
keep on track in his math course, or to enlist the help of a family
member or neighbor as a resource for math questions. Other sources
for tutors include homeschool moms who have graduated their last
child, homeschooled graduates, private tutoring agencies, retirees, or
former teachers who are now raising their own children but are in need
of some extra money - or barter for some child care on occasion!

Community colleges and high school departments at some colleges offer
high school level math courses. If your teen chooses to enroll in a
college level math course while still in high school (dual
enrollment), the college may require a math placement test. The
results of these tests provide helpful information in knowing if your
teen has the skills to succeed in the course.

What Curriculum Should I Choose?

Let the array of math curriculum remind you that you have choices and
there is no "one size fits all." In fact, math publishers often
approach the subject from different perspectives, so view this in a
positive light rather than becoming disconcerted to find that a
friend's math book covers topics in a different order - or does not
cover a topic at all. One curriculum may teach math in a cut-and-dry
manner that appeals to some, while another uses a more creative
approach. If there are doubts, check out the credentials of the
authors, read reviews in homeschool catalogs or at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11412 , and choose a curriculum that
mirrors your philosophy.

Where Can I Locate Math Curricula?

The HSLDA high school website, while by no means exhaustive, gives you
a starting place to explore various math curricula,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11413 . This listing also contains
supplemental math resources such as Khan Academy where you can view
thousands of short videos explaining many different math concepts -
for free! http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11414

Another source for courses is from complete curriculum providers who
offer a wide variety of choices.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11415

A teen who is fascinated by math may want to independently study some
higher level math courses such as statistics by using free open
courseware from MIT and other organizations.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11416

Another option for challenging math courses is Advanced Placement
courses. These are available for both calculus and statistics. Taking
an Advanced Placement course provides your teen the ability to prove
that he can complete college level work while giving a boost to her
grade point average.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11417
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=11418
Final Thoughts on Math

Math takes brainpower, so choose carefully when you schedule it during
the day.Tackle the subject in the morning if your teen is an early
riser, or perhaps save the subject for later in the day if your teen
tends to learn better in the afternoon when the cobwebs start to
clear.

Math may be an area in which you see yourself as desperate. That's a
good place to be. The Lord may be stretching you to trust Him with
areas that are difficult for you. Pray for wisdom, humbly ask for
assistance when needed, and have faith that nothing is impossible -
for you and the Lord.

Next month, join us as Elizabeth Smith shares her thoughts from a
recent homeschool high school graduation. Her words will inspire you
to keep going and to remember that the Lord is involved in all of your
efforts to teach your teens at home.

May the Lord multiply (!) your blessings this month,

Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants

June 3-4, 2011--LEAH, Rochester, NY (Becky)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10798

June 10-11, 2011--TEACH, Bloomfield, CT (Diane)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10799

New Addition! June 24, 2011--HSLDA High School at Home: The Basics
(Diane)
Purcellville, VA
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10484

New Addition! July 29, 2011-- High School at Home: The Next Step
(Becky)
Purcellville, VA
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10484

September 9-10, 2011--HOME, Greenville, NC (Becky)

September 17, 2011--HSLDA High School at Home: The Basics (Becky)
Purcellville, VA
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10484

October 1, 2011-- GRHE, Roanoke, VA (Becky & Diane)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10800


October 29, 2011-- High School at Home: The Next Step (Diane)
Purcellville, VA
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=10484

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